The Charleston Gazette | Big 12 notes: Baylor still swinging for the fences

Baylor won its first conference championship in 33 years in 2013 and when the Big 12 media days began here Monday, the Bears were still first.

No, not in the preseason poll. There they were second behind Oklahoma.

But Baylor coach Art Briles was the first of the league’s 10 coaches to appear at the podium in the main interview hall.

“I guess we’re batting leadoff today,’’ Briles said. “I don’t know what the commissioner expected, but we’re not going to try to bunt or get a single. I promise you that. We’re swinging for the fence. So maybe he should have put us fourth because that’s just the way we approach the game.’’

In other words, just because Baylor is fresh off a championship, don’t expect complacency.

via The Charleston Gazette | Big 12 notes: Baylor still swinging for the fences.

The Charleston Gazette | Coach: Expect Sills to fit in at WVU

Dwayne Thomas has sent players to USC, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Michigan and more over the last three years, so it’s safe to say the Eastern Christian Academy (Md.) coach knows a thing or two about talent.

And according to him, West Virginia got a good one in quarterback David Sills.

Expect Sills to fit in right away at WVU, Thomas said.

“He will be a tremendous asset there,’’ Thomas said of the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder. “He will fit into the scheme they have there perfectly.’’

And Thomas would know — he’s had Sills as his starting quarterback each of the last three years. This will be his fourth.

“He started all four years for us and he leads our offseason program,’’ said Thomas. “His leadership at quarterback is what all coaches dream of.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | Coach: Expect Sills to fit in at WVU.

Bowlsby: State of the Big 12 – WVU Athletics

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby gave his State of the Conference address to kick off this year’s Big 12 Football Media Day activities at the Omni-Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas.

Schools in town today include Baylor, Kansas, TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech while tomorrow’s block of schools will consist of Oklahoma, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas.

During this morning’s remarks, Bowlsby touched on a number of hot-button topics, including:

- A college sports forum to be held in New York City Aug. 6 that includes WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck

- NCAA governance and restructuring coming up for a vote on Aug. 7

- The Big 12’s new branding initiative

- The Big 12’s non-conference football schedule

- Student-athlete safety, service and support

- On-going NCAA lawsuits, including the Ed O’Bannon case

via Bowlsby: State of the Big 12 – WVU Athletics.

Noreen Named to NABC Honors Court – WVU Athletics

For the second year in a row, West Virginia University men’s basketball senior Kevin Noreen has been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court.

The NABC Honors Court recognizes men’s basketball student-athletes for their hard work on the court and in the classroom. A record number 895 student-athletes from 335 colleges and universities earned the NABC Honors Court distinction.

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Noreen graduated in May with a 3.7 GPA in sport management. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree from West Virginia in industrial relations.

“It’s an honor to receive this academic award from the NABC,” says Noreen. “This means a lot to me because it shows the amount of time and work that I’ve put in the classroom as well as on the basketball court.”

via Noreen Named to NABC Honors Court – WVU Athletics.

Izzo-Brown Top Coach, and More Notes – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University women’s soccer team found itself in the news last week. Let’s catch up!

According to Chris Henderson at the blog All White Kit, 19-year Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown ranks No. 6 on his 2014 CoachRank. A tool he developed to measure the success of Division I women’s soccer coaches, Izzo-Brown checks in with a score of 71.35 based on a 0-100 scale. She is the top-ranking Big 12 Conference coach, with the next closest coach, Oklahoma State’s Colin Carmichael, checking in at No. 24 (51.67).

CoachRank is a data-driven, objective system of measuring coach performance over at least a three-year period of time. All information to generate the first poll dates back to the 2009 season. For more information on the poll, and to see the complete list, visit www.AllWhiteKit.com.

via Izzo-Brown Top Coach, and More Notes – WVU Athletics.

Kansas Football Coach Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Day

Watch video of the University of Kansas Head Football Coach, Charlie Weis, as he addresses the media at Big 12 Media Day.

via Kansas Football Coach Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Day – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

Baylor Football Coach Art Briles at Big 12 Media Day

Watch video of  Baylor's Head Football Coach, Art Briles, talk to the media at Big 12 Media Day.

via Baylor Football Coach Art Briles at Big 12 Media Day – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Breakfast with Bowlsby yields whispers of worry

Composed and yet concerned, Bob Bowlsby opened media days with essentially a mayday message.

His voice—so subdued, so cottony—commissioned calm even as his words whispered “ALARM!”

Bowlsby used the Big 12 podium Monday morning to issue an SOS signal that had nothing to do with strength-of-schedule.

If you like college athletics now, Bowlsby warned, “you’re going to hate it” in the future.

There is game-changing litigation pending on multiple fronts that stretches far beyond players receiving the pocket change of video-game royalties. This is about lifetime scholarships, extended health care and union forces attempting to reclassify student-athletes as employee-athletes.

It will cost college athletic departments big money. And how big, Bowlsby says he can’t truly fathom.

via WV MetroNews – Breakfast with Bowlsby yields whispers of worry.

WV MetroNews – Kansas standouts recall the day the streak ended

Like many Kansas players, tight end Jimmay Mundine became caught in the crush of fans after the Jayhawks upset West Virginia last November to snap a 27-game Big 12 skid.

When the goal posts came down, it officially elevated to a next-level celebration.

“I was like, ‘What is going on?’” Mundine recalled Monday at Big 12 media days. “It was nice to see all that emotion. Then I heard the fans carrying the goal posts and saying ‘Come on, we’re going to the lake!’”

via WV MetroNews – Kansas standouts recall the day the streak ended.

WV MetroNews – NAPA Auto Parts Gold and Blue Now: Monday, July 21

In this edition of the NAPA Auto Parts Gold and Blue Now, Allan Taylor and Brad Howe talk with Hoppy Kercheval to discuss the probability of Frank Beamer and Dana Holgorsen coaching at the respective schools come 2017 when the Hokies and Mountaineers are set to play each other.

We also hear from Mike Barwis, who shares what life has been like since “American Muscle” debuted on the Discovery Channel.

via WV MetroNews – NAPA Auto Parts Gold and Blue Now: Monday, July 21.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Coach ‘aware’ of Smallwood charges

Smallwood, 20, was arrested by the WVU Police Department at the request of the Delaware state attorney general’s office and the Wilmington Police Department, both of which were on campus Monday to first interview and ultimately arrest Smallwood. Smallwood remained in the North Central Regional Jail in Doddridge County without bond until his extradition paperwork was processed and he was returned Thursday to Wilmington, Delaware.

He was arraigned Friday by Justice of the Peace Court 20 and released on a secured $40,000 bond before returning to West Virginia. He’s charged with an act of intimidation, a class G felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

“Additional information will be available at the conclusion of all proceedings,” Holgorsen wrote. “As a team, we will continue to prepare for the 2014 football season and look forward to the start of camp on July 31.”

Authorities allege Smallwood, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound sophomore positioned for a significant role as a running back and receiver this season, made repeated attempts to have a witness to a 2012 murder recant a statement that implicated Smallwood’s acquaintance, who is charged with first-degree murder.

The alleged acts happened in March and May of 2013. Smallwood enrolled at WVU in January 2013.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Coach ‘aware’ of Smallwood charges.

Fans to Take Part in “Be A Mountaineer” Series – WVU Athletics

When one thinks of a Mountaineer, many character traits come to mind – hard working, loyal and passionate, just to name a few.

But what exactly does it mean to you to be a Mountaineer?

In conjunction with the “Be A Mountaineer” video series, the West Virginia University Athletic Department is hoping to find out just that. 

“There's something unique about being a Mountaineer, and we want to give our fans the opportunity to tell and share their personal stories,” says WVU Director of Athletic Marketing Markeisha Everett.

Beginning with the unveiling of the 2014 WVU football schedule poster on July 8, the eight-part “Be A Mountaineer” series will include interviews with select current members of the West Virginia football team, the Mountaineer Mascot, Michael Garcia, as well as cheerleaders and band members…

via Fans to Take Part in “Be A Mountaineer” Series – WVU Athletics.

Holgorsen Releases Statement on Smallwood

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen released a statement Sunday regarding sophomore running back Wendell Smallwood following the rusher's arrest on Monday. 

"We are fully aware of all proceedings involving Wendell Smallwood and will continue to monitor the situation," Holgorsen said in the statement. "To protect the integrity of the criminal proceedings in Delaware, including the state’s case against the unrelated defendant, we cannot comment further at this time. Additional information will be available at the conclusion of all proceedings. As a team, we will continue to prepare for the 2014 football season and look forward to the start of camp on July 31.” 

via Holgorsen Releases Statement on Smallwood – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Removing 15-yard foul on overturned targeting flags makes sense

From the very first time replay overturned a targeting disqualification last season, the rule compelling officials to step off a 15-yard penalty anyway seemed completely nonsensical.

The rules committee has since made an about-turn, erasing the personal foul mark-off when targeting is overturned.

“We figured out by around Week 2 last season that that part needed to be adjusted,” said Walt Anderson, the Big 12′s coordinator of officials. “If we were going to review it anyway, we saw nothing wrong with removing the entire penalty.”

via WV MetroNews – Removing 15-yard foul on overturned targeting flags makes sense.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU player out on bond

West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood’s lawyer said on Friday his client is out on bond after extradition.

Rocky Gianola of Gianola, Barnum, Bechtel & Jecklin, a law firm based in Morgantown, said charges are still pending after Smallwood’s arrest Tuesday in Morgantown as an out-of-state fugitive and was being held for extradition to his home state of Delaware. Smallwood was charged with witness intimidation in a murder case Tuesday and was held in North Central Regional Jail in Greenwood.

According to the police report and the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal on Tuesday, Smallwood tried to get a witness to recant statements implicating a friend of his charged with first-degree murder. The fatal shooting surrounding the charges occurred on April 14, 2012, in Wilmington, Smallwood’s home city.

Gianola said the proceedings are moving forward.

“We have the utmost respect for the judicial process in Delaware and have no further comment at this time,” Gianola said.

The lawyer did add, however, the “media needs to learn what my daddy said a long time ago: A piece of paper, no matter how thin it’s cut, has two sides.”

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU player out on bond.

WVU’s Bell to Officiate SEC Games This Fall – WVU Athletics

Back in 2005, when Grantis Bell decided to quit coaching football at Coconut Creek High, he was leafing through a magazine one night looking at an article about part-time jobs.

Second or third on that list was football officiating, Bell recalled, and he told his wife that becoming a football referee might be a cool way to make a little extra cash. Little did he know that nine years later the part-time job he was considering would become a part-time, full-time job as a football official in the Southeastern Conference.

This year will mark the first full season of SEC games that Bell will work.

“We’ve got to perform,” said the former Mountaineer wide receiver. “We’re going to make mistakes because we’re human, but nobody is making mistakes intentionally.”

via WVU's Bell to Officiate SEC Games This Fall – WVU Athletics.

Borman Announces MAC Staff Updates – WVU Athletics

West Virginia University Senior Associate Athletic Director/Executive Director of the Mountaineer Athletic Club Matt Borman announced today the hirings of M.G. Bailey, Jake Kirkham and Tyler Wilson.

Bailey and Kirkham will serve as major gift officers, while Wilson has been elevated from graduate assistant for major gifts to assistant director for annual giving.

“I’m excited to have M.G. Bailey and Jake Kirkham join our team,” says Borman. “They both bring unique experiences from different parts of the country that will help our office tremendously. Both M.G. and Jake have very engaging personalities, and I’m looking forward to our donor base getting to know them over the next few months.

“In his two years as a graduate assistant, Tyler did phenomenal work for the Mountaineer Athletic Club. We were fortunate to be able to create a position for him, and our team is going to be better with Tyler.”

via Borman Announces MAC Staff Updates – WVU Athletics.

WV MetroNews – Anderson makes Big 12 officials earn their stripes

The split-second decisions Big 12 officials make before packed stadiums and millions-deep TV audiences each Saturday? They’re not nearly so nerve-racking as the evaluations that follow each Wednesday.

The conference uses a crew of current and retired NFL officials to grade every play from every weekend game. Once those evaluations are distilled down to 35 or 40 plays (a process that can consume eight hours), they are graded again—this time by the man who helped bring accountability to the league’s officiating.

Walt Anderson was repeatedly labeled a genius by attendees at the Big 12′s preseason officiating clinic. If that seems like an elevated opinion of a folksy 62-year-old who instructs part-time employees on how to call holding, listen to the stories of him watching video on fast-forward and still spotting even minor positional missteps by crews. Anderson sees officiating as essentially an eight-piece puzzle with hundreds of contingencies on every snap, and seemingly he sees it all.

via WV MetroNews – Anderson makes Big 12 officials earn their stripes.

WV MetroNews – High school coach says Sills hungry to start for WVU as freshman

Eastern Christian Academy football coach Dwayne Thomas says quarterback David Sills plans to enroll at West Virginia in January with hopes of winning the starting job immediately.

“His goal has always been to be a starter as a freshman,” Thomas said.

Sills, whose astonishing four-year commitment to USC began in seventh grade and ended last month when he re-opened his recruitment, committed to West Virginia on Wednesday.

The Mountaineers, who previously received a commitment from three-star prospect Chris Chugunov, were in desperate need to add a second quarterback to the 2015 class, considering the depth chart is topped by three seniors: Clint Trickett, Paul Millard and Logan Moore.

A pair of 2014 signees—four-star recruit William Crest and junior college transfer Skyler Howard—are waiting for their shots. That means Sills could arrive to a wide-open race next spring.

via WV MetroNews – High school coach says Sills hungry to start for WVU as freshman.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers picked eighth in preseason Big 12 poll

The school’s third season as a Big 12 member begins Aug. 30 in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Crimson Tide Thursday was picked to win the Southeastern Conference and had nine players make the preseason all-conference team.

Oklahoma, WVU’s opponent in the fourth week of the season and in the conference-opener for the second straight season, was picked to win the league. The Sooners, who have a record eight Big 12 championships, were first on 47 of 56 ballots. Defending conference champion Baylor, with preseason offensive player of the year Bryce Petty, was first on the remaining nine ballots and placed second.

Kansas State edged Texas by just one point for third place. They were followed by Oklahoma State, the only team without a preseason all-conference player, Texas Tech and TCU. Kansas State and TCU were separated by just 80 points, but the Horned Frogs were 127 points ahead of the Mountaineers.

WVU and TCU both joined the Big 12 for the 2012 season. They’ve split head-to-head games the past two seasons with each winning in the other team’s home stadium. They have identical overall and conference records since joining the league, but TCU, with preseason defensive player of the year Devonte Fields and two other preseason all-conference players, is widely considered to be primed for a better season.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers picked eighth in preseason Big 12 poll.